MANCHESTER, England, October 31. OLYMPIC bronze medallist Graeme Smith has been announced as the new British Para-Swimming National Coach who will be based at the new National Performance Centre (NPC) in Manchester.
Smith, who won bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in the 1500m Freestyle, will take up his new role on 11 November.
Smith will work alongside head coach Rob Greenwood to coach swimmers at the NPC and be a vital part of the coaching support offered to all programmed athletes.
When he retired from swimming, Smith worked for British Swimming in an athlete support role in the build up to the Beijing Olympics and then took a role with Elite Sports Properties and managed Rebecca Adlington, Keri-anne Payne and Richard Whitehead.
Most recently Smith has worked with Kevin Renshaw at the British Gas ITC Loughborough coaching Olympians Dan Fogg and Roberto Pavoni and World open water swimmer Jack Burnell.
Smith is excited to be part of a new team of coaches leading the biggest Paralympic sport and found the opportunity was hard to resist.
“I was very impressed with Chris [Furber] and Rob [Greenwood] and their vision for the programme moving forward,” said Smith. “I wanted to be part of this new team from the start.
“I am looking forward to hitting the ground running and getting on deck alongside Rob to begin the work for Rio. There is a professional attitude within the whole programme and I am proud to be a part of the team.
“I have been coached by and worked alongside some of the best coaches in the world and in my time at Elite Sports Properties managed some of the most talented athletes in both Olympic and Paralympic sports.
“I am coming to this role with experience of every aspect of an athlete’s life and an understanding of the strains and pressure they go through. I hope to use this to get the best out of the athletes on the programme.”
Greenwood added: “At the heart of the NPC is performance and someone of Graeme calibre is perfect for this role as we build the new centre and programme. You don’t win an Olympic medal without a performance mindset and he will add a great mentality to the centre.
“He comes at this role with a different mindset after managing the likes of Rebecca Adlington, Keri-anne Payne and Richard Whitehead who have won medals at major competitions. He will develop his coaching skills but will be on a good wavelength with the swimmers from the start.
“He will add a dimension of understanding to the coaching set up and can share his experience with all of the swimmers and encourage them to continue their good work.”
National Performance Director Chris Furber commented: “Graeme has been involved in swimming for 20 years and will bring with him experience of not only winning medals on the highest stage but also inspiring athletes of all ages.
“He will be a great addition to our coaching team and I am excited about the talents he brings to the programme. I think that he, Rob Greenwood and Rob Aubry will prove to be an incredibly strong National coaching team giving our athletes world leading support as we build the foundations for the Rio Paralympic Games.”
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